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  Not all minds that wander are lost: The importance of a balanced perspective on the mind-wandering state

Smallwood, J., & Andrews-Hanna, J. A. (2013). Not all minds that wander are lost: The importance of a balanced perspective on the mind-wandering state. Frontiers in Psychology, 4: 441. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00441.

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 Creators:
Smallwood, Jonathan1, Author              
Andrews-Hanna, Jessica A. 2, Author
Affiliations:
1Department Social Neuroscience, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society, ou_634552              
2Institute of Cognitive Science, University of Colorado Boulder, CO, USA, ou_persistent22              

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Free keywords: Mind-wandering; S; Daydreaming; Stimulus independent thought; Task unrelated thought; Self-generated thought
 Abstract: The waking mind is often occupied with mental contents that are minimally constrained by events in the here and now. These self-generated thoughts—e.g., mind-wandering or daydreaming—interfere with external task performance and can be a marker for unhappiness and even psychiatric problems. They also occupy our thoughts for upwards of half of the time, and under non-demanding conditions they (i) allow us to connect our past and future selves together, (ii) help us make successful long-term plans and (iii) can provide a source of creative inspiration. The lengths that the mind goes to self-generate thought, coupled with its apparent functionality, suggest that the mind places a higher priority on such cognition than on many other mental acts. Although mind-wandering may be unpleasant for the individual who experiences it and disruptive to the tasks of the moment, self-generated thought allows consciousness freedom from the here and now and so reflects a key evolutionary adaptation for the mind. Here we synthesize recent literature from cognitive and clinical psychology and propose two formal hypotheses that (1) highlight task context and thought content as critical factors that constrain the costs and benefits of self-generated thought and (2) provide direction on ways to investigate the costs and benefits from an impartial perspective.

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Language(s): eng - English
 Dates: 2013-05-192013-06-262013-08-16
 Publication Status: Published online
 Pages: -
 Publishing info: -
 Table of Contents: -
 Rev. Type: Peer
 Identifiers: DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00441
PMID: 23966961
PMC: PMC3744871
Other: eCollection 2013
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Title: Frontiers in Psychology
  Abbreviation : Front Psychol
Source Genre: Journal
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Publ. Info: Pully, Switzerland : Frontiers Research Foundation
Pages: - Volume / Issue: 4 Sequence Number: 441 Start / End Page: - Identifier: ISSN: 1664-1078
CoNE: https://pure.mpg.de/cone/journals/resource/1664-1078